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Zikr Dance Ensemble: Sacred Spaces 6/29-30/12

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Wow, it's been almost 3 months and I'm finally getting around to posting on this year's performance by Denver's Zikr Dance Ensemble, an organization devoted to re-creating the sacred dance styles of various spiritual groups. This year's program was a bit on the short side, as they were sharing the evening with the year-end performance of the dance school at the host location, the Parker Arts, Culture, and Events Center (Parker is a town on the south-east fringe of the Denver metro area), probably to get a discount on the theater rental. It nominally lasted about an hour and 20 minutes, but there were close to a half hour of breaks due to the need for extensive set changes.

There were 4 works in the program. The first, longest, and most bizarre was titled Anasazi Dream. As the title indicates, it was artistic director David Taylor's interpretation of the Anasazi culture. It contains elements that could have been interpreted as fertility rituals and sacrificial rituals, but otherwise I don't know how to describe it (other than "different"). This work actually is a quarter century old, and was originally choreographed for David Taylor's own company (now known as the Dawson/Wallace Dance Project). There was original music written for it, which is also a little bit different.

The 3 shorter works included 2 premieres of works choreographed by David Taylor and a sampling of dances from the mystic G. I. Gurdjieff. Both of the new works featured aerials, with the Cathedral of Light, a depiction of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres in France (curiously set to Rick Wakeman's Jane Seymour), having a levitating chief priest and The Oracle of Delphi having an airborne Pythia (I don't see how the dancer didn't get motion sickness). Part of David Taylor's agenda seems to be to give younger dancers a showcase, and The Oracle of Delphi was centered around the Colorado Ballet's Caitlin Valentine-Ellis and Christopher Ellis as The Supplicants (just as last year, all the dancers in the performance were current or former members of the Colorado Ballet or the Dawson-Wallace Dance Project or both).

I can't wait for next year's show!

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